Do you ever get that feeling where you think to yourself… “This can’t possibly be my actual life?” I’ve had it before, in both the good way and the very bad way, but this time around that was me, in the best way… pretty much all weekend long on my Dominican Republic vacation. After this past winter’s escapade in Turks & Caicos, JetBlue Getaways invited me back to experience a second getaway, and I thought that maybe I’d actually died and gone to heaven.
You should know by now, as I’ve said it time and time again, but JetBlue is my favorite airline. Always has been, probably always will. For me, it’s in the little details that nobody else pays attention to. The plentiful charging stations at the terminal.. the snacks on board… the friendly flight attendants… and of course for us Internet-addicts: the fact that the inflight Fly-Fi is free (and not a million dollars like it is on some of the airlines.) They just make it easy to travel, and that’s what their getaways program is all about… providing you with an easy, seamless travel experience (from booking, to onboard, to your destination, and then your return flight.) And on a personal note, I also really love that you can purchase “Even More Space.” It’s a must if you are tall like me (or you just want to board the plane a teensy bit earlier to ensure that you don’t have to gate-check your bag.)
I invited my cousin Sarah along, and off we went… to a weekend in Puerto Plata! The flight was quick (just over 3 hours) and before we knew it we had landed.
JetBlue had booked us for 3 nights at the Gansevoort in Sosúa (about 15 minutes from the airport.) The second we landed, we were treated to amazing service… there was even a surprise waiting for us from the hotel. I’m not supposed to tell you what it is, so I won’t… but let’s just say that they make you feel very special.
All weekend long, I was blown away by their attention to detail + level of service. They thought of things before I could think of them, and continued to surprise us all weekend long, from the passion fruit mojitos at check-in (for kids too, sans alcohol) to the frozen fresh aloe plants they brought us poolside. Blown. Away.
The most beautiful sunset!
This is my cousin Sarah, on our front porch. We had the most amazing room, with a giant balcony overlooking the ocean. We spent a lot of time here… reading, sipping beers… chilling out. Heaven.
Some things to note if you visit the DR… the power outlets are the same as in the US, and most places accept the US dollar. Don’t drink the water – stick to bottles. Most places will give you bottled water, and at the Gansevoort + everywhere we went, the ice was prepared with bottled water.
Every morning, we worked out in the hotel’s gym (which overlooked the pool + ocean with incredible views), and took advantage of the hotel’s free breakfast. As we had two full days on the island, we decided to have one very lazy day and one adventurous day. We spent our lazy day by the pool… soaking up the sun, several cocktails, and all of the amenities our hotel had to offer.
During our flights + lazy time, I actually managed to read three books. I started out with The Knockoff (a hilarious beach read inspired by the intersection of fashion + tech), Some Girls (a memoir from a woman who was once in a harem), and The Royal We (another great beach read — basically, think Kate Middleton fan-fiction — in the best possible sense of the word).
My beloved Thierry Lasry shades…
Another highlight of our “lazy day…” our waiter came by with fresh coconuts, with the option to top ’em off with rum (of course we accepted both the coconuts, and the rum.)
At the airport, we’d met a nice guy named Jamie who was also staying at our hotel… he was friendly with the hotel owner and they invited us to go into the local town of Cabarete with their friend Alison. Visiting Cabarete was really fun, and something I would definitely recommend doing. Bars and restaurants line the beach (with outdoor seating + cozy tables and couches.) It reminded me a little bit of my trip to Barcelona a few years ago. We had cocktails at a spot called Leaf… I had the passion fruit margarita which was so good!
Speaking of passion fruit… I learned a valuable lesson. Passion fruits are actually not brown. Here in New York, they always are (even at the best grocery stores!) The thing is, by the time they get to us, they turn brown. It’s still fine to eat them, but passion fruits are actually yellow in color (see above.) They are native to the Dominican Republic and our hotel did something really cool… they slice off the top, pop ’em in the freezer, and serve them frozen while you are at the pool. There’ s nothing better!
On our day of adventure, we visited the Monkey Jungle, where there are two main attractions: zip lining (my cousin went but I was too scared… I actually have a crippling fear of falling!), and the actual monkey jungle. It’s located about 30 minutes away from the hotel (between Sosúa and Cabarete — but it’s at the end of an unpaved road so it takes a bit longer to get to) and it’s incredible! Besides monkeys, they had cats, parrots, peacocks, iguanas and bunnies… but the best part is that all of the money raised benefits a free dental + medical clinic (adjacent to the jungle) that serves the indigent people of the island. Pretty cool!
If you go, note that they do not accept credit cards! Its $70 for zip lining + the monkey jungle, and $25 if you just want to see the monkeys.
I made a friend…
This is George. He’s the alpha male of all the monkeys. We were not allowed to pet him.
Feeding the spider monkeys was insanely cool (and a little bit terrifying, all at once!) You are given a plate of food (watermelon, papaya, peanuts, or sunflower seeds) and the monkeys just flock to you to get it. They climb on your head, over your shoulders… stand on your arm, and so on and so forth. It was a little bit crazy but unlike anything I’d ever experienced!
When we returned from our little adventure, it was back to the pool. The Gansevoort actually serves a fresh piña colada.. they scoop out a mini pineapple and combine it with rum + fresh coconut cream… putting it back inside the shell of the pineapple. Pretty much the best thing ever!
Before we knew it, it was Tuesday morning and time to return home. I could have stayed forever!
A massive thanks to JetBlue for an incredible trip!